א מִי יִתֶּנְךָ כְּאָח לִי יוֹנֵק שְׁדֵי אִמִּי אֶמְצָאֲךָ בַחוּץ אֶשָּׁקְךָ גַּם לֹא יָבוּזוּ לִי.
1 If only You would be
Like a brother to me,
Nurtured at my mother’s breast,
When I find you outside
I will give you a kiss
And Me no one would chide.
ב אֶנְהָגֲךָ אֲבִיאֲךָ אֶל בֵּית אִמִּי תְּלַמְּדֵנִי אַשְׁקְךָ מִיַּיִן הָרֶקַח מֵעֲסִיס רִמֹּנִי.
2 I will lead Thee and come with Thee
To the house of my mother to teach me,
I will give you to drink of spiced wine
From the juice of a pomegranate tree.
ג שְׂמֹאלוֹ תַּחַת רֹאשִׁי וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי.
3 His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me.
ד הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם מַה תָּעִירוּ וּמַה תְּעֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ.
4 Daughters of Jerusalem, make your vows,
That you shall not rouse,
Nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.
ה מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר מִתְרַפֶּקֶת עַל דּוֹדָהּ
תַּחַת הַתַּפּוּחַ עוֹרַרְתִּיךָ שָׁמָּה חִבְּלַתְךָ אִמֶּךָ שָׁמָּה חִבְּלָה יְלָדַתְךָ.
5 Who is this,
Ascending from the wilderness,
Clinging to her Beloved?
Beneath the apple tree I aroused You,
There your mother conceived you
There she was in travail and brought you forth.
ו שִׂימֵנִי כַחוֹתָם עַל לִבֶּךָ כַּחוֹתָם עַל זְרוֹעֶךָ
כִּי עַזָּה כַמָּוֶת אַהֲבָה, קָשָׁה כִשְׁאוֹל קִנְאָה
רְשָׁפֶיהָ רִשְׁפֵּי אֵשׁ שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה.
6 Set me as a seal upon Your heart,
As a seal upon Your arm above,
For as powerful as death is love,
And jealousy is as hard as from the grave to depart.
Her flames are flames of fire,
Ablaze for the Lord, who is her desire.
ז מַיִם רַבִּים לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת הָאַהֲבָה וּנְהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּהָ אִם יִתֵּן אִישׁ אֶת כָּל הוֹן בֵּיתוֹ בָּאַהֲבָה בּוֹז יָבוּזוּ לוֹ.
7 Many waters cannot extinguish the love,
And rivers cannot wash it away.
If a man will attempt
To give away his entire house for love,
He will earn nothing but contempt.
ח אָחוֹת לָנוּ קְטַנָּה וְשָׁדַיִם אֵין לָהּ מַה נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲחֹתֵנוּ בַּיּוֹם שֶׁיְּדֻבַּר בָּהּ.
8 We have a little sister
And no virtue does she possess.
What shall we do for our sister on the day
That her prospect will have His say?
ט אִם חוֹמָה הִיא נִבְנֶה עָלֶיהָ טִירַת כָּסֶף
וְאִם דֶּלֶת הִיא נָצוּר עָלֶיהָ לוּחַ אָרֶז.
9 If she is a wall we will build upon her
a silver parapet,
But if she is a door we shall enclose her with panels of cedar.
י אֲנִי חוֹמָה וְשָׁדַי כַּמִּגְדָּלוֹת אָז הָיִיתִי בְעֵינָיו כְּמוֹצְאֵת שָׁלוֹם
10 I am a wall, and my virtues are like towers,
So I was in His eyes as one in whom peace flowers.
יא כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִשְׁלֹמֹה בְּבַעַל הָמוֹן נָתַן אֶת הַכֶּרֶם לַנֹּטְרִים אִישׁ יָבִא בְּפִרְיוֹ אֶלֶף כָּסֶף.
11 The King to Whom peace belongs had a vineyard
Among the many angels,
And He placed a guard
Over that vineyard
Where each fruit would bring
A thousand delights to the soul.
יב כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי לְפָנָי הָאֶלֶף לְךָ שְׁלֹמֹה וּמָאתַיִם לְנֹטְרִים אֶת פִּרְיוֹ.
12 My vineyard is before Me;
The thousand is for You, the King to Whom peace belongs,
And two hundred for those who guard its fruit.
יג הַיּוֹשֶׁבֶת בַּגַּנִּים חֲבֵרִים מַקְשִׁיבִים לְקוֹלֵךְ הַשְׁמִיעִינִי.
13 To She who dwells in the Gardens
Let friends listen for your voice;
Make it audible to Me.
יד בְּרַח דּוֹדִי וּדְמֵה לְךָ לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים עַל הָרֵי בְשָׂמִים.
14 My Beloved, flee,
And make Yourself be
Like a gazelle or a young hart
Upon the mountains of spice.
The eighth chapter of Shir HaShirim deals with some of the lowest points in our history – the beginning of the exile in Egypt and the subsequent exiles, including the future Roman exile (Galut Edom) in which we currently find ourselves – in contrast with Temple times. The Zohar also alludes to the substitute for the Temple service with which we will have to suffice during exile – the Torah, and particularly the Oral Torah and the mystical secrets of the Torah, which first became available to a broader audience during the exile. Part of the latter is the mystical secret of yichud (unification) which is mentioned below a number of times. However, the ability to achieve this is due to the merit of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and is also achieved through attaching ourselves to holy tsaddikim in this world. The section concludes with the rewards the soul will gain through diligent Torah study and observing the Commandments.
8:1 מִי יִתֶּנְךָ כְּאָח לִי יוֹנֵק שְׁדֵי אִמִּי – If only You would be like a brother to me, nurtured at my mother’s breast.
The Zohar interprets the first verse of this chapter in a number of different ways – as a prayer expressed by the Jewish People; or as a prayer declared by the Shechinah (the Divine Presence as manifested in malchut); or as a prayer expressed by the supernal angels. The first explanation: This verse is a prayer expressed by the Community of Israel (Knesset Yisrael in the original, i.e. the Jewish People) to the King to Whom Peace belongs, the Blessed Holy One, that if only You would be like a supportive brother to me, like Yosef Joseph towards his brothers when he said Genesis 50:21), “So now, fear not – I will sustain you and your children,” even though his brothers did not treat him the way they should have. And indeed he gave them food in Canaan prior to them descending to Egypt, and he sustained them throughout the famine in Egypt, and continued to do so even after his father’s passing. Therefore, if only You would be like a supportive brother to me in our current exile, the same way that Yosef was to his brothers at the beginning of the Egyptian exile.
Alternatively, the discussion here is a more technical one, where the Shechinah declares: if only you Ze’ir Anpin, the cluster of sefirot from chesed to yesod, would be like a supportive brother to me, like Yosef was to the Shechinah, for he would commune with her and cling to her like a brother to a twin sister, both of whom were nurtured at their mother’s breast referring to the nourishment Ze’ir Anpin and Malchut (the Shechinah) – both received together from Imma-binah, so that there was the perfect bond of twin siblings between them.
(Zohar I, 184a)
8:1 אֶמְצָאֲךָ בַחוּץ אֶשָּׁקְךָ גַּם לֹא יָבוּזוּ לִי – When I find you outside I will give you a kiss and no one will chide
The Blessed Holy One now replies: ‘When I find you the Jewish People outside,’ meaning in exile, in a foreign land where external and impure forces reign, ‘I will kiss you,’ in order to cause My spirit (ruach) to cling to your spirit (ruach). This is the mystical secret of yichud neshikin, the communion that is achieved primarily through prayer and Torah study, which are done with the breath (ruach). This theme will be amplified in later verses. And no one will chide Me for doing so, even though we are in a foreign land where the lofty level of yichud neshikin is not generally found. Alternatively, this yichud neshikin can also be achieved through performing the mitzvot, which are external (‘outside’) in the sense that they are fulfilled largely through material things. Nevertheless, even there I will kiss you, and no one will protest.
(Zohar I, 184a, Rabbi Chaim Vital)
8:1 מִי יִתֶּנְךָ כְּאָח לִי יוֹנֵק שְׁדֵי אִמִּי אֶמְצָאֲךָ בַחוּץ אֶשָּׁקְךָ גַּם לֹא יָבוּזוּ לִי – If only You would be like a brother to me, nurtured at my mother’s breast. When I find you outside I will give you a kiss and [me] no one will chide
Rabbi Elazar said: The angelic choir stood in silence, not uttering any song until Levi was born, for he was the master of song. But, when Levi was born and from then on, they did sing, although not in full and not constantly. However, when Moshe (Moses) was born, and then Aaron was anointed as High Priest, and the Levites were sanctified for their service in the Temple, then song was completed. The angels expressed their songs in full, and would also sing constantly. From then on, the angelic choir stood at their posts in an orderly manner.
Rabbi Elazar also said that when Levi was born, the angels above began expressing the wish that ‘if only you the Israelites could be like a supportive brother to me’ so that we could sing together – the angels in the Temple above and their ‘brothers in song’ – the Levites in the Tabernacle below. The purpose of Creation is fulfilled by the building of the Tabernacle and the service therein of those below, as the verse (Exodus 25:8) states, “They shall make for Me a Mikdash [Sanctuary] and I will dwell within them. Thus the angels needed the Temple service below to be able to accomplish their duties above, and this would enable them to be nurtured at my mother’s breast the outflow from malchut that sustains the angels. But in the meanwhile, when I find you the Israelites outside together with us the angels (since the Tabernacle was not yet constructed) I will give you a kiss for we will be like beloved brothers, and no one will chide the angels for singing an incomplete song. Now when the singers down below were selected from among the Levites, and all of them had been sanctified to serve in the Temple, and they stood at their post, then those the angels also became sanctified for their service in the Temple above, across from the Levites below, and they became friends and sang as one. Then the worlds too, the upper and lower worlds, became unified, and the one King rested upon them. When all this had been achieved Shlomo King Solomon came along and made a book from that song of the Israelites and the angels. This is the book of Shir haShirim, the Song of Songs, in which the wisdom of that song is sealed.
(Zohar II, 18b-19a, Ramak; Matok MiDevash)
8:2 אֶנְהָגֲךָ אֲבִיאֲךָ אֶל בֵּית אִמִּי תְּלַמְּדֵנִי – I will lead Thee and come with Thee to the house of my mother to teach me
The Zohar is in the middle of a discussion regarding the origin of prophecy in the supernal sefirot of netzach and hod of Atzilut that become manifested in Beriah and below as the teachings of the Oral Torah.
Prophets are situated in the two supernal extremities i.e. the source of their prophecy is in netzach and hod of Atzilut, which are called (in Patach Eliyahu) the two ‘thighs’ that support the holy Torah in a manner comparable to the way the thighs support the upper body. And they bring the prophetic spirit of netzach and hod of Atzilut to the chambers called zohar and nogah in the World of Beriah. And it is from these two chambers that the prophets actually receive their prophecy, for they are the two thighs netzach and hod on a lower level i.e. netzach and hod of Beriah which support the upper chambers that are called ‘the Oral Torah’ i.e. the ‘chambers’ of netzach and hod within malchut of Atzilut. For just as there are supports for the Written Torah i.e. the writings of the Prophets, which are netzach and hod of Atzilut, that support, expound upon and bring into reality the teachings found in the Five Books of Moses, the core of the Written Torah, so too there are supports for the Oral Torah –netzach and hod of Beriah. And the former are subsumed into the latter – netzach and hod of ze’ir anpin of Atzilut are clothed within netzach and hod of malchut of Atzilut, which are in turn clothed within netzach and hod of Beriah. When these two lower supports netzach and hod of Beriah connect to their supernal counterparts, netzach and hod of malchut of Atzilut, then an aspect of prophecy is manifested. And what is that aspect called? Vision, which is similar to prophecy, albeit on a much lower level, as the verses (Numbers 12:6-8) clearly indicate: “If there be prophets among you, in a vision I shall make Myself known to them; in a dream I shall speak with them. Not so My servant Moshe… Mouth to mouth do I speak to him…” All of those visions drive their nourishment from there from netzach and hod of Beriah. (Cf. Daniel 10:7 “I Daniel alone saw the vision…”). Thus above in netzach and hod of ze’ir anpin of Atzilut, and even in netzach and hod of malchut of Atzilut, there is prophecy, but here in netzach and hod of Beriah there is only vision…
Now those levels netzach and hod of Beriah are called Beraita meaning ‘outside of’ (from the Aramaic bar – outside), since they are ‘outside of’ Atzilut. Similarly, certain rabbinic teachings are also called Beraita (pl. beraitot), for they are outside of the Mishnah. The beraitot are authoritative rabbinical teachings, but were not included in the six orders of the Mishnah by Rabbi Yehudah haNassi (who compiled the Mishnah) because they were less succinct, or were stated better in another source which was selected as a Mishnah. Thus the Mishnah is the primary authoritative corpus of the Oral Torah, whereas the beraitot only elucidate or confirm the ruling of the Mishnah. Accordingly, the Mishnah is a higher status than the Beraita, and the latter can be called ‘the two thighs’ netzach and hod of Beriah or the outer chambers that support the Mishnah, which is netzach and hod of malchut of Atzilut. Thus the Mishnah stands within in malchut of Atzilut, for it teaches us the fundamental principles of the Written Torah which cannot be understood properly without the Oral Torah. And therefore the Tannaim the authors of the Mishnaic teachings are also at the level of malchut of Atzilut.
This is the mystical secret of our verse ‘I will lead Thee’ I will draw down the much holier and loftier levels of chochmah and bring Thee to the house of my mother, binah which is the Holy of Holies, to teach me – this is the secret of the Mishnah malchut of Atzilut. Thus, when the river – the outflow from binah – flows forth from the Holy of Holies to irrigate ze’ir anpin and malchut, then it states, ‘teach me.’ This then is the mystical secret of the Mishnah in that it brings out the primary principles of the Written Torah in a form that can be transmitted and studied orally. This is as the verse (Deuteronomy 17:18) states, “This Mishneh Torah…” – the Mishneh Torah is the book of Deuteronomy where Moshe reviews and teaches the entire Torah that he had absorbed to the Israelites, alluding to the Oral Torah. The words ‘this’ indicates something which is revealed and can be identified, i.e. the Oral Torah, which is malchut. And when this is drawn out even further, it is called Beraita, since the Mishnah is properly understood by learning the beraitot. And therefore the two thighs are called Beraita.
(Zohar II, 257b)
8:2 אַשְׁקְךָ מִיַּיִן הָרֶקַח מֵעֲסִיס רִמֹּנִי – I will give you to drink of spiced wine from the juice of a pomegranate tree
Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi said: Everything in the world comes to an end eventually, but Torah does not come to an end. And there is nothing as beloved to the Blessed Holy One as Torah and those who study it, as we have learned: To all those who occupy themselves with Torah on a daily basis, secrets from above will be newly revealed to them. The Torah says to such a person ‘I will give you to drink of spiced wine from the juice of a pomegranate tree.’ ‘Spiced wine’ is the wine of Torah that has been guarded in its grapes from the six days of Creation. These are matters that will be revealed to saintly people in the future. Torah is sometimes compared to bread (Proverbs 9:5), to water and milk (Isaiah 55:1) and to wine, as in this verse (and in Psalms 104:15). Each of these comparisons views the Torah from a different angle: as a basic necessity (bread and water); that which causes one to grow and mature (milk); and as one of the sources of joy in life (wine). In addition, the Zohar explains in several places that wine is a symbol of the mystical aspects of Torah.
Rabbi Bo arose and said: If this is so if wine symbolizes the secrets of Torah, then should one not rather say ‘wine that has been guarded in its grapes from the Mount Sinai when the Torah – including the mystical explanation of Torah – was first given? What is the meaning of ‘from the six days of Creation’?
Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi responded: These are the deep mystical secrets of the Creation that were not revealed to man, but the opportunity would arise for saintly tsadikkim to know them, like these scholars in this group who occupy themselves with Torah constantly – they know them…
And as Rabbi Yehuda taught: When any person occupies himself with studying Torah to his full capacity, his soul ascends on high so that when he is asleep they teach him the depths of Torah…
Rabbi Yitzchak added: When a person occupies himself with studying Torah for its own sake – lishma i.e. for the sake of the Torah itself, not to acquire fame or a position or riches etc. – when he sleeps at night his soul ascends on high and they the Heavenly Court shows him events that will take place in the future.
(Zohar Chadash, Noah 28a)
8:3 שְׂמֹאלוֹ תַּחַת רֹאשִׁי וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי – His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me
Rabbi Chiya opened his discourse: The verse (Psalms 63:9) states, “My soul clings to You, and therefore Your right arm supported me” so that I will not falter. This verse needs to be examined more closely. “My soul clings to You” – King David ensured that his soul constantly clung to the Holy One blessed is He, and he wasn’t concerned at all about worldly matters, only that his soul and his will would cling to Him. And because he clung to the Holy One blessed is He, He supported him and did not abandon him. Accordingly, David declared that “Your right arm supported me.” From this a person should learn that when a person clings to the Holy One blessed is He, He the Holy One blessed is He, unifies Himself with him, and does not abandon him.
Another way of looking at this, according to the mystical aspects of Torah, is that when King David said “My soul clings to You” this was a prayer that the root of his soul in malchut would be crowned by the sefirot of ze’ir anpin above, because when malchut clings to the sefirot of ze’ir anpin above, then it ascends with them, and then the right hand chesed embraces her to lift her up and to attach to her with a single bond, as is ideal. The proof of this is in the verse (Psalms 139:10) “Your right hand grabbed ahold of me” to raise me up, and in the verse, “His right arm embraces me.” And therefore, the order of ascent is this: first, “Your right arm supported me” while I strove to ascend to my proper level, and once I became unified with the Holy One blessed is He i.e. when malchut had already ascended and attached herself to ze’ir anpin, only then is it written, “His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me” in a single unity and bond.”
Commentaries explain that David tried to ensure that his in all his actions and his speech and thoughts he would attempt to model oneself on Him, as the Rambam writes in Hilchot De’ot (1:6): The Rabbis taught the following explanation of this commandment [‘To go in His ways’ (Deut. 28:9)]: “Just as He is called ‘Gracious,’ you too must be gracious. Just as He is called ‘Compassionate,’ you too must be compassionate. Just as He is called ‘Holy,’ you too must be holy.” In this way did the Prophets refer to the Almighty using many terms: “Slow to anger,” “Abundant in kindness,” “Just and Fair,” “Pure,” “Mighty,” and “Powerful,” and similar to these – in order to demonstrate that these are good and proper attributes to emulate, and that a person is obligated to accustom himself to act according to them, to imitate Him, according to his ability. See also Ramak Tomer Devorah ch. 2.
(Zohar I, 163b)
An alternative explanation: Rabbi Yose said: When there are many righteous people in the world the verse states, “His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me.” But when the wicked multiply in the world, the verse (Lamentations 2:3) states, “He withdrew His right hand.”
(Zohar III, 74a)
Another explanation: Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai posed this question: Regarding Isaac the verse states (Genesis 24:67) “Isaac married Rebecca. She became his wife and he loved her.” Now since the verse states “She became his wife,” don’t we already know that he loved her? Every man in the world loves his wife! Why then in regard to Isaac in particular does it state this – “and he loved her”? However, the explanation is that arousing a man’s love for a woman is from the left side the side of gevurah, the attribute of Isaac, as it is written, “His left hand is under my head.” This is in addition to the embrace expressed in the verse, “His right arm – chesed – embraces me.” Darkness – the aspect of gevurah – and night – malchut – are as one, since the development of malchut (binyan hamalchut) is by way of the strength of gevurah and the left side (gevurah) arouses love constantly for the female aspect, i.e. malchut and unites with her. In this matter, even though Abraham loved Sarah, it is not written explicitly that he loved her. This is only written in regard to Isaac since it is the aspect of gevurah that arouses love for malchut. Now if you will say that concerning Jacob there is also a verse that states that he loved his wife (Genesis 29:18), “And Jacob loved Rachel” even though he was not of the aspect of gevurah, but rather from tiferet, the answer is that this is the aspect of Isaac i.e. gevurah in him in Jacob that brought this about since tiferet – Jacob’s attribute – is an amalgamation of chesed and gevurah. Come and see the proof thereof: When Abraham saw Sarah he only embraced her with his right arm (chesed embraced malchut), but did not yet accomplish full unification with her. But Isaac – gevurah – united with Rebecca bringing about a greater degree of yichud (unification) of gevurah and malchut. This is evident from the fact that he placed his left hand (gevurah) under her head, as our verse states, “His left hand is under my head, and His right arm (chesed) embraces me.” This is a more complete unification than Abraham achieved – Isaac added elevation – “His left hand is under my head – to raise the head,” compared to Abraham’s mere embrace. Subsequently after the rectifications that Abraham and Isaac had accomplished Jacob came and used his bed i.e. he brought about the complete yichud (unification) of ze’ir anpin and malchut and fathered twelve sons, who were all as they should be i.e. righteous men, and in this way Jacob rectified the merkavah of malchut.
(Zohar I, 133a)
8:4 הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם מַה תָּעִירוּ וּמַה תְּעֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ – Daughters of Jerusalem, make your vows that you shall not rouse nor stir up the love, until He shall so please
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said to his son: Elazar, my son, all of these matters – matters they had been discussing regarding the future redemption of Israel from its state of exile – can be explained through the secret of the thirty-two paths of the Holy Name. The Sefer Yetizirah (1:1) states that the Almighty (using the name Ya”h – the first two letters of the Ineffable Name Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai) engraved thirty-two paths of wondrous wisdom. Elsewhere the Zohar explains that there are in fact two dimensions of wisdom (chochmah, pl. chochmot), each of which flows into 32 paths. This is alluded to in the verse “Wisdoms (chochmot) sing out in the open” (Proverbs 1:20) – the plural form chochmot alludes to a higher wisdom and a lower wisdom, which are Divine wisdom (i.e. the wisdom of Torah) and the wisdom of Creation respectively. The 32 paths that spread out from the lower wisdom are the 32 times that the name Elokim appears in the account of Creation. The 32 paths of the higher wisdom elicit and draw down the knowledge and awareness that there is nothing other than the Infinite One, whereas the 32 paths of the lower wisdom bring about the concealment of the Infinite Light (Or Ein Sof) so that there can be a physical existence. Specifically, Ramak (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero) explains that the 32 paths of the lower wisdom flow from malchut of Atzilut into the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiya, whereas the 32 paths of the higher wisdom connect chochmah (the letter Yud) to binah (the letter Hai, forming the Name Ya”h) in the world of Atzilut itself.
Until these wonders are manifested in the world – the miracles that will take place at the future redemption, as the verse states, “I will show you wonders, just as in the days of the Exodus from Egypt” (Micha 7:15) – the secret of the Holy Name will not be complete, as in the verse, “For the hand is on the throne of God [the Name Ya”h is used here]; God wages war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). On this verse our Sages teach: “The Name [spelled Yud-Hai here, rather than Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai] and the Throne [spelled caf, samech without the aleph] are incomplete until Amalek is completely wiped out, as will happen in the future.” And then the Name will be complete Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai, and the 32 paths of the higher wisdom will be fully manifested and will be accessible to human awareness. The Name will then include the Vav and the Hai, indicating that the transcendent Yud-Hai will be drawn into (represented by the Vav) and received by the world (represented by the Hai).
However, make sure that you not rouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please – do not attempt to force the redemption, which is an expression of God’s love for His people, before its time. (Alternatively, do not stir up the love in your own heart until it is completely altruistic, not seeking any reward.) As the beginning of this verse states: daughters of Jerusalem referring to Torah scholars, or to the souls of saintly tzadikim or to the Twelve Tribes – you must make your vows God made the Jewish people vow by the gazelles tzva’ot (sg. tzvi) – gazelles or deer, alluding to the King who is called Tzva’ot the King of the hosts of Heaven, as in the verse (Isaiah 47:4) “the Lord of Hosts (Tzvaot) is His Name, the Holy One of Israel.” Technically, this refers to ze’ir anpin.
And the hinds of the lea deer of the fields, alluding to other hosts and camps of angels from lower levels. God made Israel swear by all of these hosts, since these angels accompany them into the exile, that they do not rouse, nor stir up the love from the right side which is the Holy One’s right hand so to speak, i.e. the attribute of chesed which is called ‘love.’ Do not arouse this love until He so shall please – until He seeks out she who lies in the dust – the Shechinah throughout the Exile – as in the verse (Isaiah 52:2) “Shake yourselves from the dust, arise…” And His love for her is awakened. Fortunate is the person in this world who merits to be alive in that generation. He is fortunate in this world and in the World-to-Come.
(Zohar II, 9a)
Another explanation: There is fear of one sort and there is fear of another sort. There is love of one sort and there is love of another sort. One sort of fear is when a person fears that if he sins the Blessed Holy One will diminish his possessions due to his transgressions, and so he is careful not to transgress. Another sort of fear is that if he sins his offspring will pass on in his lifetime, and so again he is careful not to sin. Accordingly, if either of these events takes place – if his possessions were diminished, or if one of his offspring would pass away in his lifetime, Heaven forfend, he would no longer have that fear, since what he most feared had already come to be. Similarly, when a person’s love for the Blessed Holy One is because He blessed him with children or wealth, or both, then if his possessions were diminished, or if one of his offspring would pass away in his lifetime his love would be diminished. Such fear and love are not comparable to the true awe and love of the Almighty, since their basis is merely his own benefit. But real awe and love are whether circumstances are good or bad, since he is not worshipping God based on rewards or punishments, but for its own sake. It is for this reason that the former types of fear and love are referred to as fear and love on condition of reward (עַל מְנַת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס), or to avoid punishment. It is for this reason that the Blessed Holy One states, ‘O Daughters of Jerusalem, make your vows… that you not rouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please this is love that is incomplete or self-seeking in any way. But only arouse that love that displays total willingness and commitment, with an inner love and desire for Me through the Torah and mitzvot I have commanded you – until she the love shall so please shall be pleasing to Me – which is unconditional love.
(Tikunei Zohar Tikun 30, p. 73b-74a)
8:4 אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ – That you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.
If the Jewish People arouse that love, the love the Blessed Holy One has for them, “which is as intense as death” or “strong until death”, leading to the advent of Mashiach (the Messiah) before his time, for they pray for the fulfillment of the second half of the verse (Isaiah 60:22) בְּעִתָּהּ אֲחִישֶׁנָּה – “In its time I will hasten it” then you must arouse it in the proper manner. The proper manner is to acquire tremendous merit from diligent Torah study and the fulfillment of mitzvot and good deeds with love and awe. In this manner you will merit the speedy advent of Mashiach and the Redemption – “I will hasten it”. But if not, if you do not have this great merit, do not arouse it, because the side of impurity – primarily referring to Amalek, as below – will only strengthen itself, knowing that its end is near as soon as Mashiach arrives. This is the meaning of our verse, “Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows… that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.” According to the Talmud the Blessed Holy One made Israel swear that they will not push for the redemption before its time. However, the Zohar suggests that this is only if the Jewish People do not have sufficient merit, then they should wait for the redemption “until He shall so please” – until God decides that it is the proper time.
(Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 22 p. 68a)
8:5 מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר מִתְרַפֶּקֶת עַל דּוֹדָהּ – Who is this, ascending from the wilderness, clinging to her Beloved?
The Zohar does not comment on this section of the verse. However the Arizal states the following:
It could be asked, how is it possible for her [the Shechinah] to cling to her Beloved even when they were in the desert, an uninhabitable, inhospitable place, where “her feet go down to death” (Provers 5:5), “in a land that is not sown” (Jeremiah 2:2)? Possibly we can answer that with the power of prayer and speech and thought and mystical intentions, her children [the Israelites] can raise her up [this is the meaning of ‘ascending’ in the verse] to become “the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4).
8:5 Beneath the apple tree I aroused You
Come and see the meaning of this verse: The Blessed Holy One is compared to an apple tree that produces three colors – apples that are white, red and yellow-green, signifying the primary aspects of ze’ir anpin, which correspond to the sefirot of chesed, gevurah and tiferet respectively. And Knesset Yisrael (the Jewish community or malchut or the Shechinah) is compared to a rose. What aspect of malchut is like a rose? Rabbi Abba said: A rose enclosed i.e. surrounded by the six attributes of ze’ir anpin, because the common rose has six petals, alluding to those six attributes. Now this rose has two colors – white and red, symbolizing chesed, tiferet, netzach from the sefirot that tend to the right, like chesed; and gevurah, hod, yesod from the sefirot that tend to the left, like gevurah. The entire rose has these two colors, even the stamens, which have whitish filaments (stalks) and dark red anthers (the pollen bearing part). Sometimes the anthers are gold, which is regarded as a derivative of red. So too, Knesset Yisrael is endowed with these two qualities – chesed and gevurah.
The Blessed Holy One is compared to an apple tree, and Knesset Yisrael is compared to a rose – and this is what Knesset Yisrael said: “Beneath the apple tree I aroused You.” Now where is this ‘beneath the apple tree?’ Since the Blessed Holy One is Himself referred to as ‘the apple tree,’ the verse should have said, “Beneath You I aroused…” However, the intention here is not the apple tree, but rather the apples themselves that grow from the tree – this refers to the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who correspond to chesed, gevurah and tiferet respectively. And what is under the apple tree is malchut that receives from all of those sefirot, and she arouses them to illuminate her.
(Zohar III, 286b-287a)
8:5 שָׁמָּה חִבְּלַתְךָ אִמֶּךָ שָׁמָּה חִבְּלָה יְלָדַתְךָ – There your mother conceived you; there she was in travail and brought you forth
The Zohar does not comment on the remainder of the verse. However, the Maggid Meisharim, Vayetzei  and the Arizal comment that there are two types of birth alluded to here – the first from binah (which is called Imma ila’a – the higher ‘mother’), and therefore the verse states, “There your mother conceived you”; and the second from malchut (which is also called Imma tata’a – the lower ‘mother’) where the word ‘mother’ is not mentioned in the second half of the verse. Thus it emerges that if your thoughts constantly cling to the One above, without interruption, then it is binah that conceives the soul, and there are no birth pangs or travail involved, and indeed the soul is conceived in binah and remains in a state of ibbur (impregnation) within binah (i.e. the soul remains in the higher worlds and does not descend into the lower worlds, only a radiance of the soul descends). However, if your thoughts do not cling to the One above constantly, then malchut gives birth to the soul and birth pains and travails accompany the birth of the soul into the lower worlds.
The Ibn Ezra comments here that the one given birth to here is Mashiach (the Messiah).
8:6 שִׂימֵנִי כַחוֹתָם עַל לִבֶּךָ כַּחוֹתָם עַל זְרוֹעֶךָ – Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm above
Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Abba were in the vicinity of Lod when they entered a cave to escape from the heat of the day. They began discussing Torah. Rabbi Elazar began expounding the verse, “Set me as a seal upon Your heart…”: One night, when I was with my father Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, I heard this teaching from him – that there is no perfection, and no revelation of the Divine Will, and the yearning of Knesset Yisrael (the Community of Israel) for the Blessed Holy One is without relief other than via the souls of holy Tsaddikim, for they direct the flow of water the arousal from below towards the water above to seek out the unity of the soul with God, that will quench their thirst. Then their longing from below can be fulfilled – by means of cleaving in oneness so that they can produce their fruits. Technically the Arizal explains this as alluding to what we mentioned previously in this chapter – the yichud (unification, communion) of ze’ir anpin and malchut. However, since malchut has fallen to a very low level though our shortcomings, even though a person strongly desires to ascend, this depends upon his or her merits (i.e. spiritual achievements), since merits raise a person up and spiritual shortcomings cause their descent. This being so, it is virtually impossible to ascend on one’s own, without the aid of a Tsaddik, or Tsaddikim whose souls are in a state of holiness. Through them malchut (or the soul of a disciple) will ascend. In other words, what facilitates the ascent of malchut to unite with ze’ir anpin in yichud is the conscious action of yesod (corresponding to the tsaddik) to unify these two partzufim. In a more general sense, when the tsaddik includes others in his thoughts, prayers and actions they too become part of this unity. The tsaddik also facilitates that the powers above will reach out to encourage and support the seeker.
Therefore, come and see: After they the Tsaddik and his disciple, or ze’ir anpin and malchut, cleave to one another in a state of deveikut, and she receives the flow given lovingly from above, she the disciple or malchut says, “Set me as a seal upon Your heart…” Why ‘as a seal’? This is because when a seal from a stamp or a signet ring attaches to i.e. is pressed or stamped into a certain place, even when it is removed from there, a trace of the seal remains and is not erased. Indeed, the entire impression of the seal and its format remain there. Similarly, Knesset Yisrael declares, since we clung to You through the yichud (unification) achieved during the time of deveikut (communion), even though now we are in exile, away from You, i.e. the yichud was interrupted, nevertheless, “Set me as a seal upon Your heart…” take the impression of our deveikut, and place it as a seal upon Your heart, even during the time of exile, just like the impression of a seal remains in that place into which it was pressed, even after the stamp or the signet ring has been removed.
(Zohar I, 244b-245a)
Alternatively: “Set me as a seal upon Your heart,” – this is what the Shechinah (an alternative reading: the Jewish People in exile) said to the Blessed Holy One: Even though You may withdraw Yourself up above, Your likeness will never leave us, just like a seal that wherever it cleaves to, it leaves the impression of the owner of the seal, making it known that the object upon which the seal is stamped is proof of his ownership. So too, says the Shechinah (or the Jewish People in exile), the likeness of Your seal will never leave me. And therefore, Knesset Yisrael (or the Jewish People in exile) says: ‘Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm’ – like the seal of tefillin that a man places on his arm opposite the heart, and ‘as a seal upon the arm above’ – these are the head tefillin whose straps hang down on both sides of the head, opposite the heart and the arm. In them in the scrolls contained within the tefillin is written that they are the people of the Blessed Holy One. The implication here is that fulfilling the commandment of tefillin highlights the seal with which we have been stamped.
(Tikunei Zohar, p. 18a)
8:6 כִּי עַזָּה כַמָּוֶת אַהֲבָה – For as powerful as death is love
Rabbi Elazar asked: What is the meaning of ‘as powerful as death’? It is this: There is nothing so difficult in the world as the moment the soul has to leave the body when its time comes. So too, the love of the Community of Israel for the Blessed Holy One makes them inseparable, to the extent that a person may willingly give up his or her life in martyrdom in order to not renounce Him, even when being tortured to death, as happened many times in history.
(Zohar III, 54b)
Alternatively: “As powerful as death is love” – the separation between the Blessed Holy One and His Shechinah from the Jewish People is as wrenching as the departure of the neshama, ruach and nefesh – the three lower levels of soul – from the body at the time of death.
(Tikunei Zohar, p. 18a)
A similar sentiment is expressed in a slightly different way here: “As powerful as death is love” – the separation of the Blessed Holy One from His beloved children is more devastating for Him than death. And how do we know that there is ever a separation between the Blessed Holy One and His children? From the verse (Isaiah 59:2): “For your sins are the only barrier between you and God,” and this is worse than death, regarding which the verse (Ruth 1:17) states, “if anything but death separates me from you,” said Ruth to her mother-in-law, Naomi. The idea here is that whereas only death can separate two people who are devoted to each other, this is not relevant as regards the Blessed Holy One. But what can separate Him from His beloved people are their sins, hence sins are worse than death.
(Tikunei Zohar, p. 68a)
8:6 קָשָׁה כִשְׁאוֹל קִנְאָה – And jealousy is as hard as from the grave to depart
Of all the levels of Purgatory – gehinom – there is none as harsh as she’ol (lacking everything, so that the soul begs – sho’el – for its needs), which is the lowest level of gehinom, other than the level called avadon (total annihilation). Both of them she’ol and avadon join together as one, and this is the toughest thing of all for sinners because although the possibility of rehabilitation is totally annihilated, their longing to repair the damage they did remains. So too, jealousy is as hard as departing from the grave from the lowest levels of gehinom, i.e. from she’ol and avadon, for jealousy in the positive sense is because of love – from love comes jealousy – and one who is jealous of the one he loves, for he sees that she has reached a state of greater perfection than him, will find it harder to separate from her than to depart from the lowest aspects of the grave, called she’ol. Technically this refers to the ‘jealousy’ ze’ir anpin has of malchut, since the root of malchut is in keter, which is far loftier than the root of ze’ir anpin which is in binah. Accordingly, ze’ir anpin longs (sho’el) to bond with malchut and merge with her into her source in keter, where ze’ir anpin will experience total annihilation (bittul b’mitziut), paralleling avadon.
(Zohar III, 54b)
Alternatively, translating the verse slightly differently: “And jealousy is as harsh as … the grave” – this is the jealousy that the Blessed Holy One will have because of His love for them, so that when they leave the exile, He will display that jealousy and take retribution from those who oppressed her.
(Tikunei Zohar, p. 18a)
8:6 רְשָׁפֶיהָ רִשְׁפֵּי אֵשׁ שַׁלְהֶבֶתְיָה – Her flames are flames of fire, ablaze for the Lord, who is her desire
These are the flames of love between a man (ish) and a woman (ishah) as we see from these very words in Hebrew אִישׁ (ish) and אִשָׁה (ishah) – both words contain the letters אֵשׁ – fire (esh), and the letters unique to each of them spell י”ה one of the Divine Names. The ‘man’ here refers to the Blessed Holy One, as the verse (Exodus 15:3) states, “God is a ‘man’ (ish) of war” i.e. the active element symbolized by the male becomes revealed when He takes His revenge upon Pharaoh and his people who enslaved and oppressed the Israelites, and a ‘woman’ the feminine receptive element is the Shechinah or the Jewish People, regarding which the verse (Proverbs 18:22) states “One who found a woman (ishah, which also means ‘a wife’) found goodness…” In other words, the yichud mentioned earlier is expressed here as fiery love for God for His people and vice versa.
(Tikunei Zohar, p. 68a)
8:7 מַיִם רַבִּים לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת הָאַהֲבָה – Many waters cannot extinguish the love
This verse is a continuation of the previous verse, and also references a verse in a previous chapter (2:8), “His left hand is under my head…” regarding which the Zohar asks which aspect of ‘left’? Since the ‘left’ generally refers to gevurah (harshness, withdrawal, alienation, estrangement). And answers: As the verse states, “His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me” – the left here is part of the embrace and therefore is intended to bring His beloved closer, not to push her away. These gevurot cause His flame of love for the Community of Israel to increase, and therefore, “Many waters cannot extinguish the love.” For when the right hand, which is compared to water symbolizing chesed, is thrown onto the fire of this love, it increases the flames of love; it does not extinguish them, just as the verse in 2:8 continues, “and His right arm embraces me.” We can also explain it the opposite way: the love that the Jewish People have for the Blessed Holy One is not quenched by ‘the left hand lifting the head’ – referring to deep meditation on the higher and lower levels of Divine Unity (yichuda ila’a and yichuda tata’a). Even the cooling waters of this mediation do not satiate the thirst of the soul for Godliness.
(Zohar I, 245a)
8:7 מַיִם רַבִּים לֹא יוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת אֶת הָאַהֲבָה וּנְהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּהָ – Many waters cannot extinguish the love, and rivers cannot wash it away
“Many waters cannot extinguish the love” refers to the water libations that the Israelites would pour onto the altar during the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) when the Temple stood. This they would do with joy and love for the Blessed Holy One, as the verse (Isaiah 12:3) states, “And draw the water with joy,” regarding which the Sages of the Mishnah state, ‘Whoever did not see the water-drawing ceremony never say joy in his life.” Even the greatest joy of the Festival of Water Drawing cannot requite the love and longing the Community of Israel have for their Beloved.
“And rivers cannot wash it away” these are the rivers of pure persimmon oil to which everyone clings and attaches themselves with love. The pure persimmon oil alludes to the aspects of chesed of binah that are drawn down during the Festival of Sukkot. Thus the verse suggests that neither ‘the many waters’ nor the ‘rivers of persimmon oil’ can extinguish the love between Israel and her Father in Heaven, for the abundant spiritual light that is revealed at that time, does not satisfy the thirst of the Jewish People to commune with God.
(Zohar III, 259a)
8:7 אִם יִתֵּן אִישׁ אֶת כָּל הוֹן בֵּיתוֹ בָּאַהֲבָה בּוֹז יָבוּזוּ לוֹ – If a man will attempt to give his entire household away for love, he will earn nothing but contempt
“If… a man” – this refers to Samae’l the angelic manifestation of the male aspect of chesed of kelipah (the evil ‘shell’ or ‘husk’ that smothers and conceals the spark of Godliness that is at the essence of every creature in existence) when Samae’l sees the love of the Jewish People for the Blessed Holy One, he attempts to give them his entire household i.e. his consort, Lilith, the female aspect of chesed of kelipah, in order to taint their love for the Blessed Holy One, and transform it into sexual lust. This is in order to obtain a portion from them in this manner at the water drawing mentioned above in this section. The implication is that if the forces of evil (Samae’l) can taint the love they have for God by substituting it for lust (love of sexual pleasure) embodied in Lilith, he will be able to take that portion of the spiritual outflow for himself and his nefarious purposes.
Certain sections of the Torah are read throughout the days of the Festival of Sukkot. The readings for the second, sixth and seventh days hint to the water drawing ceremony. The allusion to that water in the second, sixth and seventh portions, when substituted for their letters spell the word בו”ז (boz) meaning they the Jewish People will certainly despise (boz yavuzu) him, for nothing could possibly replace or even taint the love and joy they have for the Blessed Holy One, and indeed they regard him Samae’l and his consort Lilith as a piece of broken pottery that can never be fixed.
(Zohar III, 259a)
Alternatively, the verse can also be read on a positive note: “If a Man will give” – this refers to the Blessed Holy One – all the wealth referring to wisdom and knowledge of His household, as the verse (Proverbs 24:4) states, “through knowledge the rooms [of the house] are filled with all valued and delightful treasures [illumination and enlightenment that flow from above] because of the love the Jewish People have for Him, but He does not bond with them intimately, i.e. the illumination and enlightenment do not become a permanent part of them, then they – the inhabitants of the higher worlds, i.e. the angels and their camps – will surely despise such knowledge as well. They too will not want it, for they only want and delight in the intimate bond of the Jewish People to the Blessed Holy One.
(Zohar III, 54b)
8:8 אָחוֹת לָנוּ קְטַנָּה וְשָׁדַיִם אֵין לָהּ מַה נַּעֲשֶׂה לַאֲחֹתֵנוּ בַּיּוֹם שֶׁיְּדֻבַּר בָּהּ – We have a little sister, and no virtue does she possess. What shall we do for our sister on the day that her prospect will have His say?
Rabbi Abba began explaining our verse: We have a little sister, and no virtue literally, ‘no breasts’ does she possess. ‘We have a little sister’ refers to the Community of Israel who is called the ‘sister’ of the Blessed Holy One. Technically the ‘little sister’ refers to malchut, and her ‘brother’ is ze’ir anpin. Since both are produced by binah, as the verse states, “The mother of children rejoices” – where ‘mother alludes to binah, and ‘children’ alludes to ze’ir anpin and malchut. ‘And no breasts does she possess’ – as we have learned, when the Israelites came to Mount Sinai, where the Torah was given, they had no merits or good deeds to protect them, as our verse states, except that in the actual verse this is expressed as her breasts, which we have therefore translated as ‘merits,’ following the explanation in the Zohar here. For they are the rectification and the beauty of a woman and she has no beauty other than these. And it is upon these virtues that the entire world depends for their sustenance, not upon all kinds of ornaments and decorations and beautifications which provide no lasting value. What then shall we do for our sister, the ministering angels ask? What will be with her if she has no good deeds on the day that her prospective partner the Blessed Holy One will have His say – at the time that He reveals Himself on Mount Sinai to announce the words of the Torah in their initial form as the Ten Commandments. For then, since they have no good deeds as an anchor, their souls will fly forth from them due to the overwhelming revelation that will take place then, as the Talmud (Shabbat 88b) relates – with each and every word that they heard of the Ten Commandments their souls flew out, and they had to be revived with the dew that will resurrect the dead at the end of days.
(Zohar II, 80b)
8:8 אָחוֹת לָנוּ קְטַנָּה – We have a little sister
When the Jewish community is in exile among the nations she is called ‘small’ as our verse states. But when they cleave to the Torah and go in the ways of truth then she becomes full like the full moon, which is symbolic of the waxing and waning of both malchut and the Jewish People, and peace clings to them.
(Zohar I, 256b, Addenda)
8:9 אִם חוֹמָה הִיא נִבְנֶה עָלֶיהָ טִירַת כָּסֶף וְאִם דֶּלֶת הִיא נָצוּר עָלֶיהָ לוּחַ אָרֶז – If she is a wall we will build upon her a silver parapet. But if she is a door we shall enclose her with panels of cedar
The Zohar does not comment on this verse, but the Midrash explains that this refers to the Jewish People – if they stand strong among the nations, like a wall that does not budge, then she will be built upon. But if she is like a door (swinging back and forth in the wind) – or alternatively delet here can also mean poor, i.e. poor in Torah and mitzvot – then she shall be boarded up with wooden panels. Such a structure does not last for long.
8:10 אֲנִי חוֹמָה וְשָׁדַי כַּמִּגְדָּלוֹת – I am a wall, and my virtues are like towers
The Zohar views this verse as a continuation of verses 8 and 9 – ‘We have a little sister… if she is a wall…’ to which the Jewish People respond: I am a wall, and my virtues literally ‘my breasts’ are like towers – they are so full of virtue they can sustain everyone, like towers which were used to store grain and other produce. Technically, this refers to those great rivers that emerge from binah above that sustain all of the sefirot.
(Zohar III, 296a)
8:10 אָז הָיִיתִי בְעֵינָיו כְּמוֹצְאֵת שָׁלוֹם – So I was in His eyes as one in whom peace flowers
Continuing the theme mentioned above – when they the Jewish People cleave to higher levels that are alluded to by the word א”ח brother (the aleph alludes to chochmah and the chet alludes to binah), and the word ach itself means to ‘bind or stitch together’ then she is not small and immature, but large and mature, and the entire world can be nourished from her, for her virtues literally her breasts are like towers, and “so I was in His eyes as one in whom peace flowers.”
(Zohar I, 256b, Addenda)
8:11 כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִשְׁלֹמֹה בְּבַעַל הָמוֹן נָתַן אֶת הַכֶּרֶם לַנֹּטְרִים אִישׁ יָבִא בְּפִרְיוֹ אֶלֶף כָּסֶף – The King to whom peace belongs had a vineyard among the many angels, and He placed a guard over that vineyard, where each fruit would bring a thousand delights to the soul
Rabbi Yehuda said: When the verse states in a literal translation, “Shlomo King Solomon had a vineyard” this refers to the King to Whom peace belongs the Blessed Holy One, and the vineyard is the Garden of Eden, planted in Ba’al Hamon. Ostensibly this is the name of a certain place. However, the Zohar understand it not as a name, but rather as a description – “having multitudes” – which are the multitudes of angels of peace found in the Garden of Eden. And He placed a guard over that vineyard – these guards are the Jewish People who keep watch on earth they observe and keep the commandments of the Torah in this world. They are the ones who will be allowed into the Garden of Eden, where each fruit the fruits of every commandment the person kept, will reward them with the thousand delights that the soul longed for. The reward the soul experiences in the Garden of Eden is not the material pleasures depicted in common literature and art, but rather the delight of the soul in the revelations granted to it via chochmah, as the verse (Job 33:34) states, “I will teach you wisdom.” The word for ‘I will teach’ is a’alef’cha, the root letters of which spell the word elef – a thousand. Hence, in the Garden of Eden they will enlighten the soul of those who are faithful to Torah with a thousand illuminations.
Alternatively, “Shlomo had a vineyard” – this ‘vineyard’ is the Torah that was in Ba’al Hamon – the Heavens where there are multitudes of angels. And this vineyard was given to us to those who guard the vineyard i.e. the Israelites who guard its precepts by the King to Whom peace belongs. There each fruit the fruits of a person’s Torah study will reward them with the thousand delights as explained above.
A third explanation of the word ‘vineyard’: Rabbi Yose and Rabbi Chiya were on the road traveling. Rabbi Chiya said to Rabbi Yose: “Repeat some of the lofty teachings from your father regarding the delights of the soul in the Garden of Eden.” A short conversation ensued in which Rabbi Yose declined to discuss his father’s secret teachings out in the open in the vicinity of Kapotkia, where there was some danger. But later when they had left the area of Kapotkia and continued on their journey, Rabbi Yose said, “I will tell you something – one of the secret interpretations of a verse – that was hidden away among my father’s hidden treasures. These were esoteric teachings that could not be revealed at the time. It is this: The verse states, “Shlomo had a vineyard…” This ‘vineyard’ is a metaphor for the holy soul that is planted up above, below the Throne of Glory, and Ba’al Hamon is the Throne of Glory itself, and it is called thus because it is the seat of rulership over all the myriads of angels in the heavens above and down below. And the Lord of Hosts will give this soul who keeps the Commandments to the guardians of the Garden of Eden to ensure that the soul will be allowed to enter and receive its reward.
Now the Blessed Holy One has a multitude of worlds beyond the worlds of the hosts of Heaven. The worlds occupied by angels are relatively lowly worlds, whereas the worlds occupied by holy souls are far loftier. Indeed there are another one-thousand-two-hundred other worlds! One thousand refers to the lights of keter and the hundred refers to the lights of chochmah and binah with which He enters to delight in the souls of the righteous tsaddikim in the Garden of Eden. And each soul brings the spiritual fruits of his labor for which he receives one thousand silver coins. These ‘silver coins’ are the thousand worlds in which the Blessed Holy One delights. This interpretation will be continued in the explanation of the next verse.
(Zohar Chadash, Noah 28a)
8:12 כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי לְפָנָי הָאֶלֶף לְךָ שְׁלֹמֹה וּמָאתַיִם לְנֹטְרִים אֶת פִּרְיוֹ – My vineyard is before Me; take the thousand Shlomo, and two hundred for they who guard the fruits
Rabbi Yitzchak said, I will conclude the words of Rabbi Yose cited above on the previous verse, based on this next verse “My vineyard is before Me; take the thousand Shlomo [the King to Whom peace belongs], and two hundred for those who guard the fruits” – these thousand that are drawn from keter are fitting for You alone, the King to Whom peace belongs, and not for any other. As for the “two hundred the lights from chochmah and of binah as merged into chochmah – those are for they who guard the fruits.” They are the delights and the ecstasy of the souls of the righteous tsaddikim in the Garden of Eden.
(Zohar Chadash, Noah 28a)
8:13 הַיּוֹשֶׁבֶת בַּגַּנִּים חֲבֵרִים מַקְשִׁיבִים לְקוֹלֵךְ הַשְׁמִיעִינִי – To She who dwells in the Gardens, let friends listen for your voice; make it audible to Me
At midnight the Blessed Holy One enters the Garden of Eden to delight in the holy tsaddikim there i.e. a higher level of Divine revelation enters the Garden of Eden at midnight than that which illuminated the Garden prior to midnight. This is when the midnight ritual called Tikun Chatzot, literally ‘the rectification of midnight,’ takes place. Midnight is the point that divides the first half of the night from the second half. The first half of the night becomes progressively darker, while the second half becomes progressively lighter. This is not only in the literal sense, but also on the spiritual plane, since a higher level of light illuminates the Garden of Eden from midnight on as it becomes progressively lighter. It is at that time that men must arise and study Torah out loud, as we have learned: regarding the interpretation of this verse “Let friends listen for your voice”– for the Blessed Holy One and all the tsaddikim in the Garden of Eden all listen for your voice, and this is the meaning of the verse “To She who dwells in the Gardens, let friends listen for your voice; make it audible to Me.” And we have already explained elsewhere that “she who dwells in the Gardens” is Knesset Yisrael, the Shechinah whose place is in the Garden of Eden of the World of Beriah. In fact there is a Garden of Eden in each of the four worlds – the levels of chochmah and binah that constitute the Garden of Eden, as explained above. But here we are talking about the presence of the Shechinah in the Garden of Eden of the World of Beriah. She is the one who praises the Blessed Holy One at night with the praises of Torah, and happy is the lot of one who participates with Her in praising the Blessed Holy One with the praises of Torah. Commentaries explain that this does not refer to the actual prayer of Tikkun Chatzot but to studying Torah after that prayer until daybreak.
(Zohar I, 46a)
Alternatively, Rabbi Shimon said: This verse contains a mystical secret for the wise: “She who dwells in the Gardens” is Knesset Yisrael the Shechinah who is in exile with the Jewish People, and she accompanies them throughout their travails. “Let friends listen for your voice, make it audible” refers to the camps of supernal angels, all of whom listen for your voice, the voice of the praises you sing of the Blessed Holy One, even when you are in exile. “Make it audible to Me” should be understood in a manner similar to a previous verse (2:14) ‘Show Me your face, Your voice let Me hear’ – make it audible to Me – the voice of those colleagues of ours who make great efforts in Torah study, for there is no praise before Me greater than that emanating from those who study Torah strenuously.
(Zohar III, 213a)
8:14 בְּרַח דּוֹדִי וּדְמֵה לְךָ לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים – My Beloved, flee, and make Yourself be like a gazelle or a young hart
The great Rabbi Chiya was on his way to study with the masters of the Mishnah the Oral teachings of the Torah presented in a very condensed and cryptic format. These masters are referred to as Tannaim. He traveled to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai to learn from him and saw that a curtain of fire divided his house – he and his students sat on one side of the curtain and the rest of Rabbi Shimon’s household were on the other side. Rabbi Chiya was astonished, and he said to himself, “Let me hear his words from here outside of the curtain. He heard Rabbi Shimon expound our verse “My Beloved, flee, and make Yourself be like a gazelle or a young hart” – and Rabbi Shimon explained: The greatest yearning that the Jewish People have is to be in the presence of the Blessed Holy One, and they pray that He will not withdraw from them. Elsewhere Rabbi Shimon had explained that the greatest passion the Jewish People have is that the Blessed Holy One He will not simply move away or distance Himself from them in a disinterested way, but rather that He will flee like a gazelle or a young hart! Why like a gazelle or a young hart? Rabbi Shimon explained: There are no other animals in the world like a gazelle or a hart. When they flee they go only a short distance and then look back to gaze behind them, at the place they just left. They always turn their heads to look back. And so too the Jewish People say to their Beloved, “Master of the universe! If we have caused You to leave us i.e. we have caused the light of the higher sefirot to distance itself from malchut, the Shechinah, may it be Your will that You flee like a gazelle or a young hart, which goes a short distance and then looks back, as the verse (Leviticus 26:44) states, “Even though they will be in the land of their enemies, I will not despise or loathe them to destroy them.” Alternatively, when a gazelle sleeps, it sleeps with one eye open. And so the Jewish People say to the Blessed Holy One, “Be like a gazelle,” for “the Guardian of Israel does not sleep or slumber” (Psalms 121:4), and we ask that You keep an eye on us even during the exile.
(Zohar I, 14a)
8:14 עַל הָרֵי בְשָׂמִים – Upon the mountains of spice
The Zohar asks, “What are these mountains of spice?” And the Zohar answers: These are the six sons of Leah, and are regarded as the children of binah. And they also include the other six, Joseph, Benjamin etc., making twelve the Twelve Tribes. Although Leah was the mother of only six of the tribes, these six correspond to the main six sefirot of ze’ir anpin, whereas the others are derivate in some sense. Together they are called “mountains of spice” since they all complemented, perfected and perfumed each other. The Arizal explains this somewhat differently: ‘The mountains of spice’ are binah herself. Accordingly, the remainder of the Zohar’s statement, that Leah was above them all, watching over her children. From this we can deduce that the over-arching guardianship of Israel comes through binah – fulfilling the verse (Psalms 113:9) “The mother of children rejoices,” like a mother watching lovingly over her children.
(Zohar I, 158a)
 See Etz Chaim 16:1; 16:4; 39:4.
 Tanya ch. 45; Mamarei Admo”r HaZakein 5669 p. 51.
 Although the usual translation is ‘among them’, the word בתוכם also (and primarily) means ‘within them’ – within the soul of each and every Israelite. (See Torat Menachem vol. 2, p 223 ff).
 Part of the Intro to Tikunei Zohar.
 See Talmud Berachot 35b; Pesachim 109a.
 See e.g. Zohar III, p. 83, 68. The Zohar notes there that יי”ן (wine) and סו”ד (secret) have the same numerical value =70, showing the affinity between them.
 Sifri Eikev; Shabbat 133b.
 “ובעת שירצה האדם להתקרב למעלה להדמות אליו לפתוח מקורותיו אל התחתונים צריך שישתלם בשני פרקים אלו”
 This verse is a repetition of 2:6. For the sake of convenience we have copied our explanation from there.
 Although gevurah is most often associated with restrictive power, the power to limit and conceal the benevolence and magnanimity of chesed, or with self-restraint, it also denotes the attribute of spiritual elevation, as commentaries note on this very verse, “His left hand is under my head – in order to raise the head” (see Torah Or, Ki Tissa 85c. Perhaps one can say that “lifting the head” is for the purpose of zivug neshikin, the spiritual communion that precedes physical intimacy, as explained in our commentary above 1:2. See Arizal, Sha’ar haPesukim, Vayera 21. See also Likutei Torah (Kehot), Chukat 66c; Zot HaBeracha 93d. See also Shir Hashirim Rabba 1, 2).
 As in the verse (Genesis 31:42): “He whom Isaac fears was with me.”
 See Eitz Chaim 35, 4.
 Ramak and commentaries.
 Sha’arei Teshuvah (Admor HaEmtza’i), Sha’ar HaTefilah 24a.
 A euphemism signifying sexual intimacy.
 Ramak and commentaries.
 See above 2:7.
 י”ה… חקק… ל”ב נתיבות פליאות חכמה
 Zohar I, 141b cited in Sefer HaMaamarim 5569 p. 50; Torat Chaim Bereishit 3b ff.
 חָכְמוֹת בַּחוּץ תָּרֹנָּה (משלי א, כ)
 Zohar I, 141b cited in Sefer HaMaamarim 5569 p. 50; Torat Chaim Bereishit 3b ff.
 Sefer HaMaamarim 5572 p. 18. See also Likutei Torah, Eikev 16d.
 Torat Chaim, Bereishit vol. I, p. 1a.
 Genesis chap. 1.
 Zohar III 81b (Raya Mehemna); Zohar Chadash 94d, 96b, 211 c-d; Pardes Shaar HaNetivot (shaar 12) chap. 2. Cited in Likutei Torah, Emor 33d, Ki Teitzei 39c, etc.
 Sefer HaMaamarim 5668, p. 72; Torat Chaim, Bereishit vol. I ד”ה בראשית ברא פ”ג-ד.
 Pardes, Shaar HaNetivot (shaar 12) chap. 2.
 מיכה ז, טו: כִּימֵי צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אַרְאֶנּוּ נִפְלָאוֹת
 שמות יז, טז: וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי יָד עַל כֵּס יָהּ מִלְחָמָה לַיהוָה בַּעֲמָלֵק מִדֹּר דֹּר
 Tanchuma, Ki Teitzei 11; Rashi on this verse: נשבע הקב”ה שאין שמו שלם ואין כסאו שלם עד שימחה שמו של עמלק כולו, וכשימחה שמו יהיה השם שלם והכסא שלם
 Eitz Chaim Hakadmat Maharchu (al Shaar HaHakdamot); see also Kohelet Rabba 12:10 (ד”ה בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לַעֲמֹד עַל הַקֵּץ מָתַי); Matok MiDvash.
 Eitz Chaim Hakadmat Maharchu (al Shaar HaHakdamot).
 Shaar Maamarei Rashbi, Pekudei.
 Kehillat Yaakov s.v. בן, citing Zohar I, 242a; Or Neerav 7:1.
 ישעיהו מז, ד: גֹּאֲלֵנוּ ה’ צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל
 Matok Midvash.
 ישעי’ נב, ב: הִתְנַעֲרִי מֵעָפָר קוּמִי
 See above 3:5.
 As in the verse Vayikra 1:9: “… a pleasing scent to God,” on which Rashi comments: “This is pleasing to Me because I decreed and My will was done.” Note that this phrase is first used in in connection with the burnt offering – all of which was offered up on the altar (see Zevachim 85b). Similarly, the love demanded here is an all or nothing proposition.
 See Talmud Sanhedrin 98a.
 See Talmud Ketubot 111a.
 Sefer HaLikutim, Zot haBeracha 8.
 There are a couple of species of white apples, such as the White Transparent (from Latvia) or the Ghost Apple (California). Or it could mean a very light yellow, almost white like the Aurora Golden Gala or the Grimes Golden.
 See Pardes 10:3; 20:7.
 Rabbi Yosef Caro, who heard the teachings recorded in this work from his spiritual teacher.
 Sefer HaLikutim, Zot haBeracha (8).
 Sha’ar HaKavanot, Tefillin 5.
 Pri Etz Chaim, Sha’ar Kriat Shema ch. 12.
 Torah Ohr (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) p. 18b.
 See Mikdash Melech.
 See Kehillat Yaakov s.v. סמאל. See also Maggid Mesharim, Bamidbar.
 If there were no Godly spark at its core, that entity would not exist – nothing can exist as merely as a negation of something else.
 See Pardes 25:5; Eitz Chaim 48:3.
 Specifically, Numbers 29:17-34.
 In the extra letter mem of ונסכהם on the second day; the extra letter yud of ונסכיה on the fifth day; and the extra letter mem of כמשפטם on the seventh day, spelling the word מים (water). See Talmud Taanit 2b; Succah 34a.
 As in Exodus 15:3.
 As the verse itself alludes to. See Zohar II, 123a; Zohar III, 291a.
 The day the Torah was given is called the day of His wedding with the Jewish People (Talmud Taanit 26b in the Mishnah).
 See Talmud Sukkah 29a; Bereishit Rabba 6:3.
 Bereishit Rabba 39:3.
 From the word אחוי. See Talmud Mo’ed Katan 26b; Likutei Torah, Tavo 42d, 43c.
 As we have translated it here, following the Zohar’s explanation.
 The worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
 Literally, ‘a secret of wisdom.’
 According to Rabbi Moshe Cordovero this was when Rabbi Chiya first became a disciple of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, and is not the Rabbi Chiya who was a disciple of Rabbi Yehuda haNassi, and the teacher of Rav.
 Rashbi was also one of the foremost Tannaim with many rulings in the Mishnah, to the extent that there is not a chapter in the entire Talmud where Rashbi does not appear. (Likutei Torah, Acharei 28a)
 Note the implication that the light has not completely withdrawn.